BACKGROUND: Considering the insufficiently controlled spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants, partially low vaccination rates, and increased risk of a post-COVID syndrome, well-functioning, targeted intervention measures at local and national levels are urgently needed to contain the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Surveillance concepts (cross-sectional, cohorts, clusters) need to be carefully selected to monitor and assess incidence and prevalence at the population level. A critical methodological gap for identifying specific risks/dynamics for SARS-Cov-2 transmission and post-COVID-19-syndrome includes repetitive testing for past or present infection of a defined cohort with simultaneous assessment of symptoms, behavior, risk, and protective factors, as well as quality of life.

METHODS: The ELISA-Study is a longitudinal, prospective surveillance study with a cohort approach launched in Luebeck in April 2020. The first part comprised regular PCR testing, antibody measurements, and a recurrent App-based questionnaire for a population-based cohort of 3000 inhabitants of Luebeck. The follow-up study protocol includes self-testing for antibodies and PCR testing for a subset of the participants, focusing on studying immunity after vaccination and/or infection and post-COVID-19 symptoms.

DISCUSSION: The ELISA cohort and our follow-up study protocol will enable us to study the effects of a sharp increase of SARS-CoV-2 infections on seroprevalence of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, post-COVID-19-symptoms, and possible medical, occupational, and behavioral risk factors. We will be able to monitor the pandemic continuously and discover potential sequelae of an infection long-term. Further examinations can be readily set up on an ad-hoc basis in the future. Our study protocol can be adapted to other regions and settings and is transferable to other infectious diseases.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: DRKS.de, German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS), Identifier: DRKS00023418 , Registered on 28 October 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1305
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1305
Publication statusPublished - 07.07.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)

Coronavirus related work

  • Research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19


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